The salivary glands play an important role in our body by the virtue of its ability to secrete saliva. Saliva has a role to play in maintaining the health of the oral cavity and for carrying out physiological functions like mastication, taste perception, speech etc. It also acts as a mirror to the systemic status of an individual owing to its ability to act as a diagnostic fluid for detecting a number of conditions and diseases. Saliva is a potential noninvasive diagnostic fluid for detection of a number of biomarkers of disease and health. Advancement in diagnostic methods has helped in identifying biomarkers of disease in saliva. In order to understand and diagnose pathological changes, a thorough understanding of the salivary gland anatomy, physiology and regulation of its secretion is warranted. This chapter aims to provide the basic understanding of the secretions of saliva.
Part of the book: Salivary Glands
The prevalence of gingival and periodontal disease is manifold and has not been highlighted much due to its asymptomatic and milder symptoms. It is usually given its due importance when the gingival disease progresses to advanced periodontal disease, displays symptoms of dull pain and tooth mobility, and is associated with pus discharge. The starting point of periodontal disease is usually gingival disease which is a reversible condition. It is therefore necessary to diagnose gingival diseases at an early stage to prevent its progression to irreversible periodontal disease. The diagnosis of gingival disease becomes cumbersome due to its similarity in the presentation of signs and symptoms. Gingival diseases can occur due to microbial attack from the plaque biofilm which is usually bacterial in nature. There are other viral, fungal, and immune-mediated mechanisms which can result in gingival diseases. Some systemic conditions also influence the gingiva which allows for diagnosing systemic diseases and treating these conditions appropriately. It is said that oral cavity is the mirror of the body, and in that sense the gingiva is the biggest surface where any changes or manifestations could be observed.
Part of the book: Oral Diseases